As of late I have been asking new actors at The Acting Corps why they want to act. The most popular answer I get is that “acting is interesting”. And yes, acting IS interesting. But then I ask the same question of the same actors about three weeks into the The Actors’ Boot Camp. And at this point hardly anyone finds acting interesting – people find it frustrating, challenging, life changing, life saving, and downright revelatory. I suspect they still find it interesting but the interest has deepened, and what was once an intellectual curiosity is now a gut-level reaction that artists experience when they have found home base.
This is a most rewarding experience, for myself and for all Acting Corps teachers. And we know that we have done our jobs. But we also know that with their new creative identities actors will now experience tremendous resistance. By that I mean that they’ll be attacked by a thousand forms of paralyzing fear, from financial
insecurity (don’t all actors starve to death?) to parental disapproval (will my parents disown me?) to fear of success (what will happen if I actually do succeed?).
And it’s a beautiful thing because this is where the rubber meets the road. And this is where we must say; “We helped you open the door, only you can walk through it. Now the battle is between you and you.” We say this gladly and we say it often because we are speaking to ourselves too. Having survived a battle or two, with the scars to show for it, we know that fear will try to destroy everyone who has made it their business to create. It is the creative artist’s condition – no matter how much support we garner from friends and family, we will wake up with fear again tomorrow. And on a good day we will do what we need to do in spite of it.